New Jersey lawmakers have voted overwhelmingly in favour of legalising sports betting at Atlantic City casinos and racetracks throughout the state, setting the scene for a showdown with the federal government over the constitutionality of the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

The New Jersey Senate voted 35-2 on Monday in favour of legislation sponsored by Senators Raymond Lesniak and Jeff Van Drew which would allow licensed racetracks and Atlantic City casinos to operate sports betting pools. It follows voter approval of a constitutional amendment to legalise sports betting on the November 2011 ballot, which passed by a margin of nearly 2-1.

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